Monday, 19 November 2012

Keralan prawn biryani

As I have said numerous time before, I am a sucker for biryani, good or bad. I can thoroughly enjoy it without an issue. That said, I completely suck at making biryani the proper way and so cant flaunt it when I have guests over. I do experiment with different types of biryani when its just us at home and sometimes it comes out ok, but most of the time, not good.

When the lovely people over at Flora asked me if I wanted to try making the Keralan Prawn Biryani recipe from their new cookbook called 'Let's Get Cooking,' I jumped at it. With around 30 odd recipes contributed by mums (and dads), the cookbook was put together by Jean-Christophe Novelli and has an array of easy recipes you can whip up in no time. You can view all the recipes in the cookbook here. It was also my first time using Flora Cuisine, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with it. Its a much healthier cooking oil which can be used in place of any oil or butter and used for baking, frying, greasing, sauteing and what not. I have been regularly using it for my cooking now and I love it.
Coming to the recipe. One look at it and you will instantly realise its an easy peacy one, with no complications of a biryani. That said, its not the traditional biryani. So scoot if its what you are looking for. The rice here is cooked in a microwave, the prawn masala made separately and then both mixed together and served. Not the authentic biryani flavour you would get with this, but would suffice for one of those days you don't want to slog it out in the kitchen, but want something fancy and tasty. I had never cooked rice in a microwave and was wary about doing so, especially because it involved a huge quantity of ingredients and you definitely don't want to waste it by screwing it up. So I did a couple of Google searches, asked the contributor of the recipe (who btw has her own food blog) and some other friends and they all assured me it would turn out well as they regularly did it. 

I was still too chicken to do it and so tried it out with a small quantity of plain rice the previous day. All I have to say is, I'm hooked. I'm kicking myself for not discovering microwave cooking earlier. Its so easy and convenient and the best part, individual grains of rice which are perfectly cooked and fluffy. I now make different types of pulao and stuff in the microwave, which I shall blog about later. So anyways, the whole thing doesn't take any time to put together especially if you make the prawn masala a day or two ahead. Which is what I did and all I had to do was make the rice, garnish and assemble it on THE day. Taste-wise, I thought it was more like a prawn pulao than a biryani, but who cares, it tasted good nonetheless. 

Recipe adapted from Flora's Let's Get Cooking
To marinate
Tiger prawns- 500 gms, peeled and cleaned
Chilli powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste

For the masala
Flora Cuisine- 2 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Ginger paste- 2 tbsp
Garlic paste- 2 tbsp
Green chillies- 2, slit
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Mint leaves- 1/4 cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Coriander leaves- 1/3rd cup, cleaned and roughly chopped
Garam masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Water- 1/2 to 3/4th cup
Lemon juice- 1 tbsp

For the rice
Basmati rice- 2 cups, cleaned and soaked in water for around 15 to 20 minutes and then drained.
Flora Cuisine- 1 tbsp
Onion- 1 large, thinly sliced
Boiling water- 4 1/4 cups
Salt- to taste

Garnish (optional)
Cashewnuts- 3 tbsp
Onion- 1 half, julienned
Raisins- 1 tbsp
Marinate the cleaned prawns with all the ingredients under the marinate section and keep aside for about 15 to 20 minutes. This is purely optional. Skip the step if time constrained.
Once the marinating time is over, you can start with the masala.
Place a large pan over medium heat and add the Flora Cuisine. Once hot, saute the onions till they turn soft and a light brown in colour.
Add the ginger, garlic pastes and green chilli and continue sauteing till the raw smell disappears, around 2 to 3 minutes.
Throw in the coriander powder, chopped mint and coriander leaves', garam masala and salt and mix it all in, stirring for about a minute or so.
Add the marinated prawns, water and lemon juice and simmer on medium heat till the prawns are cooked through and the masala is in semi-gravy form. Keep aside.
This can be made the previous day or 2 days in advance and refrigerated.
Add the boiling water into a large (big enough to comfortably hold the rice once it expands) microwave safe bowl and add the drained rice.
Season with enough salt, give a stir and cook without a lid in the microwave for about 10 minutes.
Simultaneously, heat 1 tbsp of the Flora Cuisine in a frying pan and sauté the onions for the rice till soft and light brown. 
After 10 minutes, remove the rice from the microwave (carefully, bowl might be hot) and add the sauteed onions to it. Give a thorough mix and continue cooking for about 12 minutes.
Once the time is up, check to see if all the water has been absorbed and if not, microwave for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
Take the bowl out, cover with a lid and leave aside for 10 minutes. You will then notice that the rice is perfectly cooked, and no water remains.

To assemble, fluff the rice gently using a fork and mix it with with the prawn masala. Make sure you don't over do the mixing and break the rice.
If using garnish, then heat 2 tbsp of Flora cuisine in a frying pan and fry the cashew nuts, onions and raisins separately till lightly crisp, drain on paper towels and when ready to serve garnish with the same.
Serve with pappad, pickle and raita.
Notes: The original recipe calls for frying the marinated prawns for around 4 minutes on each side and adding that to the masala. I omitted this step because I used pre-cooked prawns and doing so would have made it tough when cooked again in the masala. If using fresh prawns, then this step is highly recommended.
Quantities have been altered a bit to suit our taste.
I cooked the rice on full power (700Watts) for 22 minutes. Times vary according to your microwave power.
You can of course layer the biryani the traditional way and cook in the oven or on the hob top to get the 'dum' effect. But the whole point of this biryani is the simplicity and so I followed the above mentioned procedure
I froze the remaining biryani in an air tight container. Just take it out and let it thaw at room temperature before using and finally warm in a microwave before serving.

With thanks to Flora Cuisine for sending me all the ingredients to make this tasty Prawn Biryani.


divya said...

Looks so yummy!! Nice inviting clicks..

Sherin said...

U have done it very well dear. I like the use of term 'contributor'.:-). Glad I could introduce u to ( and get hooked on to) microwave method of cooking rice. It is super-easy isn't it dear.

A few suggestions! Raw prawns help get the flavours get absorbed in them so well,ur prawns will be more flavourful and ur prawns won't go rubbery either, like u mentioned.

I liked ur presentation dear. I am so glad we got acquainted and u were the one who was doing this recipe.

Try this too

Suja Manoj said...

Great post dear and lovely presentation,can have biryani anytime,between never tried microwave cooking of rice..will surely try this recipe

Shibi Thomas said...

Wow what an easy method of cooking Biriyani...never tried making it in microwave. Nice snaps too. Just curious if it spilled in the microwave?

Shibi Thomas said...

Thanks Nisha for the info on cooking rice in microwave...I definitely want to give this a try tonight as it is less time cosuming and I am lazy for an extensive dinner.

Red skin potatoes don't taste any different than the reg. potatoes, but they are easy to cook and their vivid yellow and red color gives an appealing look to the dish. I know mine didn't came out that good this time, as the potatoes were not that small and I overcooked it a bit :(.... but wanted to post the recipe anyhow before thanksgiving. You can try it with yellow golden baby potatoes. Sorry the reply got little too long :)

raaji said...

kerala prawns biryani definitely would have tasted good..

Anonymous said...

I have never tried the microwave method. Very interesting recipe. I love your board too. Wish we lived closer ;)

Shabs.. said...

Love the composition of the second pic.very nice. Was you ISO high there or did u add effect? The word keralan reminds me of Anjum Anand always! Very nice and easy recipe for those looking for a great meal in no time. I have always been a fan of elaborate and extensive cooking, so no quick fixes.:)

Shabs.. said...

BTW, I have seen flora ads in supermarket mag and it says 40 percent healthy or so in the mag. Does it have any flavour? I wuld give it ago if teh flavour is good.

Swathi Iyer said...

Delicious prawn biriyani that too cooked with microwave.

Indu said...

Love biryani myself. The biryani looks very hearty, the prawns plump and inviting!


Jane's Ire said...

Looks yummy as usual di. We are huge fans of microwave rice. Esp now, Reuben can manage it on his own if I have to go out :D and have fresh rice with his curries.

Priya said...

I can die for this irresistible,inviting prawn briyani.

Drooling here..

Bharathy said...

Been thinking to write to you ever since you tried the chicken curry and came back with such a wonderful and positive comment :) So SO happy about it, girl! :) I myself was confused scaling down the measurements and let me hope you did a great thing in balancing the spices which may not have been mentioned there :)

and I see the yummiest killer recipes of prawn (omg) and all my favourite desserts lined up :) yummy yum!! lovely pictures! awesome recipes is what all I can say :) keep up your great work!! hugs! :)

Bharathy said...

came across your GM diet too.. should thru relaxingly cos me too with some on and off (fad) diet currently ;) great going and all the best!! keep writing to motivate women like me :)

Lubna Karim said...

Same pinch Nisha....I too can have biryani....anytime or anytype.....Just the world biryani makes my taste buds ooze out saliva.....this prawn biryani looks dammm yum.....

Rinku Naveen said...

Never knew we could make such yummy looking biriyani in a microwave. I used to make 2 dishes in the microwave (Kheer and cake). But that was long back. Love your pics Nisha!

Manju said...

i must say you have inspired me to try microwave cooking of rice too...I had the same notions as you, but let me also give it a try and see how it goes. My stovetop rice cooking is easy enough, but who doesnt want a easier option right?

But I cant do a Prawn biriyani (hus is allergic to shellfish), maybe a fish biriyani :-)

Shahzaib Khan said...

Wow Very Good Looking and Tasty Looking Biryani I will try this at home and do u have a recipe of Shrimp Biryani ?